al kessler


We are sorry to announce that Al Kessler passed away in 2008.

"This is a book which makes you think about the nature of reality and relationships, the possible and the impossible, the bizarre manifestations of what we call love."

William Wharton, author of Birdy

Some comments by the author:

“New York is important to me.  Although I deserted years ago, I believe a person is basically formed in his first 15 years.  When I was a kid I thought New Jersey was inhabited by cowboys and Indians.  Both my Jesuitical training and my medical background are instrumental in the way I think.  I need say nothing about my marriage since it has lasted over 50 years.

”What is important to me in the novel are the realizations and the relief that the protagonist's telling of his story brings to him and the fact that understanding can follow some horrible deeds. I like the handling of the second woman, the mystery involved and the withholding of obvious details.  Others have objected to
this. Being fond of martinis, I like their repetition as well as the influence of the protagonist's parents, each in their different styles.  By the way, none of the book is biographical of anyone I know except for the old doctor who is based on the memory of a professor I had in medical school.

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Born in New York City, I received a B.S. degree from Fordham University, an M.D. from Duke University then spent two years as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy in Europe before training in Neurosurgery at the University of Chicago.  After practicing neurosurgery for almost 10 years in Spokane, Washington, I became increasingly dissatisfied with private practice (not with medicine itself) and my urge to explore other interests surfaced.  With five children, my wife, Charlotte, and I came to Europe where, except for a three year period of neurophysiological research in Washington, D.C. we have remained ever since, my wife becoming the supporter rather than the supported..

My primary purpose in coming to Europe was to write and paint.  Because of a modicum of success in painting, most of my initial efforts were concentrated in the plastic arts (an early novel lies sleeping in a desk drawer).  I have had innumerable gallery and salon exhibitions in Europe including a two and half year tour of museums in Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Armenia.  For the past several years I have been writing as much, or more, than painting.  I am now working on my fourth novel.  My primary interest in writing is to explore an individual's inner make-up, how an ordinary person reacts to a problem, a trait in character, or a situation.  I believe that most of the action in our lives takes place within ourselves.


Set in Brooklyn Heights, THE 8TH DAY OF THE WEEK is a novel of obsessive guilt and regret gnawing at the heart of a prominent doctor.  His ambition has estranged his wife, contributed to the death of a son from an overdose of drugs and culminated in his allowing a brain damaged child of his wife and another man to die.  A last chance to regain the wife he has lost begins to unravel as the doctor confesses the story of his life during the seven days of a week to a sympathetic woman sitting at a bar.

Yet the reality he relates in his conversations contrasts with the elusive relationship he has with the woman he is talking to and with another woman sitting alone at a table, as well as conflicting with the fanciful workings of his mind.  Two childhood visions, one of a merry-go-round which has become symbolic to him and, the other, the words of advice from his mother, keep recurring throughout his story, explaining much of his adult behavior.


As the seven days of the week progress, the reader realizes that the woman at the bar is the doctor's wife and sees the rekindling of the wife's love and understands her sympathy with the emotions that had driven him.  They plan to relive their original meeting on the eighth day.